By teens, for teens: peer-designed sexual health clinic continues to expand

For many teens and young adults, access to education about sex and reproductive health is limited. A program created through El Rio Health is changing that.

The El Rio Reproductive Health Access Project —  RHAP for short — was created by Joy Baynes, a nurse practitioner and employee of El Rio Health. The project formally began in June 2017 after months of running focus groups and finding and training the right people to lead the project. For Baynes, the right leaders weren’t fellow nurse practitioners or other medical professionals — they were teens.

“The program, from the beginning, is peer-designed,” Baynes said.

Baynes explained that the research done in her focus groups coupled with input from the teen community showed that transportation, cost and time were some of the biggest challenges teens and young adults faced when it came to getting access to reproductive health services. With that research, the teen leaders who had been recruited to RHAP began to develop their program.

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